Being a dynamic content management system, WordPress comes with lots of useful features. And if you are not satisfied with the default features, you can quickly add new features by installing third-party plugins. There are both free and premium plugins available.
If you are a complete beginner to WordPress, you should know how to install a new plugin on your own. This is one of the essential administrative tasks for any WordPress site. There are three different ways to install a WordPress plugin, they are –
- Installing a Plugin from the Plugins Page,
- Installing a Plugin from the Dashboard and
- Installing a Plugin via FTP.
I will discuss all three methods one by one. Let’s start with the first one.
Method 1: Installing a Plugin from the Plugins Page
By default, WordPress comes with two plugins – Akismet and Hello Dolly. Among them, Akismet will protect your site from spam comments; Hello Dolly is just a dummy plugin. You will find these plugins in the Plugins -> Installed Plugins page.
To add a new plugin, go to Plugins -> Add New. Alternatively, you can go to Plugins -> Installed Plugins and click the ‘Add New’ button. You will be taken to a page like the following –
By default, the page will display the featured WordPress plugins. You can also browse the Popular and Recommended plugins by clicking their respective links. If you know the name of your desired plugin, type the name in the search box and hit Enter.
Each plugin will be accompanied by some pertinent information like average user rating, number of ratings, number of active installs, last update and compatibility with your WordPress version. This information will help you to find out the most appropriate plugin.
Once you have found the desired plugin, click the ‘Install Now‘ button from the top-right corner of the plugin box. This will download and install the plugin on your WordPress site.
From this page, you can activate the plugin or get back to the plugins page. And that’s how you install a WordPress plugin from the plugins page.
Method 2: Installing a Plugin from the Dashboard
Now, let’s see how to install a WordPress plugin from the WordPress dashboard. To install a plugin in this method, you will need the zipped archive of the plugin. If you have chosen a free plugin from the WordPress plugin directory, you can download the zipped archive by clicking the ‘Download’ link from the plugin page.
If you are downloading the plugin from other places, separate the zipped plugin archive from the downloaded file.
Next, go to Plugins -> Add New and click the ‘Upload Plugin‘ page.
Click the ‘Choose File‘ button, select the zipped plugin archive and click ‘Install Now’.
If everything is okay, the plugin will be uploaded and installed on your WordPress site. At this stage, you should see a screen like the following –
Like the previous method, you will have two options from this page – activate the plugin or return to the plugins page.
Method 3: Installing a Plugin via FTP
This is the last method of installing a WordPress plugin. This process requires two things – the plugin folder and FTP access to your website server.
First of all, get the zipped archive of the plugin. I have discussed this in the previous method. Once you have got the zip file, extract it to your desktop.
Now, fire up your favorite FTP client like FileZilla. Connect to your FTP server. Find out the ‘wp-content’ folder, open the ‘plugins’ folder. Copy the plugin folder from your desktop to the ‘plugins’ folder. Make sure that you have copied all the plugin files properly.
That’s it. If you get back to your website dashboard and go to the Plugins -> Installed Plugins page, you will find the plugin you just uploaded via FTP listed on this page. You can activate or delete the plugin by hovering over the plugin name.
Installing a plugin is a simple and straightforward task. However, using a lot of plugins could have a negative impact on your website performance. Only install and activate the plugins you need. And don’t forget to delete the plugins you no longer use/need. And as always, don’t install any plugin from unknown sources. They might contain malicious and harmful code.
After reading this in-depth tutorial, you should have a clear idea of installing new plugins on your WordPress site. Nonetheless, if you are still confused about any part of the process, please let me know by leaving a comment below. I will try my best to clear your confusions.